Fiction, Vol. 6.3, Sept. 2012
Eder and Hauser
Hauser is the central character in a novel by Eder. It is Eder’s fifth, Hauser’s first.
Eder enjoys writing about Hauser. When Hauser go es to the office, Eder is full of anticipation. Eder laughs merrily when Hauser falls on the floor, which happens a lot. If Hauser falls in the mud, Eder laughs especially loud and hard. Both Eder and Hauser are looking forward to the chapter where a beautiful woman takes the stage.
Readers love Eder’s style but for Hauser it’s still unfamiliar.
The House Call
I stood in front of my doctor. I was naked. The doctor said he would find something. He said I had already gone through two thirds of my life and no one dies of nothing. He accepted my terms. No lying down, no anesthesia. I wanted to keep my dignity. Stand, stand, if you can stand it. Then he laughed. He had brought a number of instruments, because he was a surgeon. My best friends were invited. The appointment took place in my living room. A rare thing, a doctor who still does house calls, they said, filled with respect. My wife was there. She had prepared clean and ironed bandages. Now it was time for the children to turn off the model railroad.
Face to Face with Creation
Frommel got up at five to finish his article, “Face to face with creation,” for the conservationist magazine. Some good ideas had occurred to him during the night. While brushing his teeth, he suddenly grabbed his chest and became weak in the knees. It did not even hurt when his head slammed against the wall. His nose felt every crevice between the tiles as he slid down. Then he realised he was not the only lifeless body in the corner of the bathroom. There was the fly that he had chastised yesterday.
On equal footing, but one meter lower, I walk by your side. My belly is a bow arching through the soil. Dandelion strings play spindrift. If you knew how easily I walk through the earth, my territory, neither solid nor liquid, but warm and soft. Sometimes I feel roots between my toes. I jump over pipes you cannot even see. I observe your doings as I feel my way. I like to look at the sky. The sun is still dear to me and I do not fear the circling birds. Many a mouse and many a worm I’ve warned about them, in time.
I love butterflies. But not if they come flying head-on in long clotted swarms as if passing a stovepipe. Not if they smack into my forehead, rustling like thousand-rupee notes running through a counting machine. Not if their dust blackens my eyelashes and lips as if I was a widow. I’ll hide my face when it’s over. At night, I’ll go to the river to wash. A lifeless butterfly drops down from my mouth and drifts away. Am I guilty?